The Story of the Tulips

(2 minute read)

To say, “I’m not great with plants” would be a gross understatement. Historically, I’ve never been able to keep a plant alive for more than a few weeks. So when my busy toddler asked to plant flowers in our yard, I immediately felt resistance rise up inside of me. 

What if they don’t grow? What if they grow and then die? What if I can’t do this? What if she’s disappointed? 

Her interest in planting flowers took shape in the late summer and early fall – not the best time to be starting a garden. However, the little I knew about gardening told me that we could try planting tulips in September or October. 

I ordered some bulbs online. I read a bunch of blog posts about how to plant them correctly. I listened to my mother-in-law’s advice.

It was hard work. The ground was tough and we had to dig down deep. My daughter stuck with it for a respectable amount of time, but eventually wandered off to play in the yard. On the other hand, I was determined to finish the job, even after I broke the trowel and scraped my knuckles on rocks. 

Hands holding tulip bulbs with the text "The ground was tough and we had to dig down deep"

Afterward, I prayed she would forget about the whole thing. As winter wore on, I would peer out our front window from time to time at the hard, dark earth. I would cautiously wonder to myself, “Is anything happening down there?” 

Then, one crisp spring day, we were walking around our neighborhood admiring everyone else’s beautifully tended gardens when my daughter exclaimed, “Mommy! The tulips are growing!” I assumed she meant someone else’s tulips were growing. But she insisted that our tulips at our house were growing.

When we got home, she led me to the flower bed under the front window and squatted down low. I followed her lead. And lo and behold, a small but sturdy green shoot was starting to stretch toward the sun. I was shocked. 

Despite all odds, new life was appearing before our eyes. What I considered a foolish activity designed to occupy an afternoon became for me a profound lesson in the goodness of creation and the Creator: the possibility for new life is always there just below the surface, even in our times of doubt or despair. 

In April, we are marveling at how the new life that surrounds us during spring points directly to the new life that Jesus offers through his Passion, death, and Resurrection. On the Premium Hub, you’ll find a short audio episode to share with your family and interactive ideas for exploring this theme together. I hope you’ll join us! 

Written by Catherine Sullivan


Find more reflections, resources, and practical tools for growing your family of faith on the free One Best Thing Hub!

Posted in